Insight: Laura Ling / Evolving Eyes / Billy Mills / Blind Pianist / Sherman Baker & Autumn Sky
With 2012 winding down, we're revisiting some of our favorite conversations from this year on Insight.
Laura Ling - Laura Ling was a favorite guest from this year on Insight, and for good reason. Her story of captivity in North Korea with fellow journalist Euna Lee is compelling, and Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home, the highly-rated book she and her sister Lisa Ling wrote about the experience, is a worthy bestseller. What made this interview such an unforgettable one is Laura's thoughtful and strikingly honest description of what happened.
Update: Laura and Lisa were recently honored by Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda's organization The Women's Media Center in New York. Laura is currently working on a new episode of her show "E! Investigates with Laura Ling" about female survivors-everyone from a mother who battled pancreatic cancer and just completed the world championship Ironman competition, to Sarah Shourd, the woman who was arrested and imprisoned in Iran while hiking in the border region. It's also worth noting that Laura's sister Lisa is expecting her first baby in the New Year, giving Laura an additional credential of Auntie Lisa."
Evolution of the Eye - Dr. Ivan Schwab, UC Davis professor of ophthalmology, and the director of Cornea and External Disease Service wrote a book about the evolution of the eye, plus the relationship between living things and their eyes. It's a big coffee table book full of pictures and science that covers billions of years called Evolution's Witness: How Eyes Evolved. It's an incredibly expansive subject and makes for a truly memorable conversation.
Update: Update Since that conversation in June, Dr. Schwab has done a TED talk and appeared on the Discovery Channel's Weird Science. He is also involved in a number of international projects. The doctor's Christmas wish? That Santa will convince Ira flato to interview him someday on Science Friday. We hope so, too.
Billy Mills - During this summer's London Olympics, we spoke with more than 20 athletes about their experience. The Olymic motto is "Citius, Altius, Fortius", or "stronger, higher, faster". One more word to add to that list might be "Profundior", Latin for "deeper." In this context, we mean this as the deeper, spiritual place some competitors tap into in order to draw strength. An increcibly eloquent speaker about the profundior aspect of the Olympic journey is Sacramento Olympian, Billy Mills, the second Native American to win a gold medal, following Jim Thorpe. Billy won the 10,000 meter run in 1964 in Tokyo, a race the Running Time terms "the greatest race of the 20th century". Watch a video of the historic race here.
Update: Since this summer, Billy's wife Patricia was commissioned to do a painting of Billy which now hangs in the private collection of the World Olympic Museum in Switzerland. He describes it as "thrilling and sacred" to watch her art career thrive.
Blind Pianist - Woodland resident Chris Nakamura was a preemie, born at 25 minutes weeks and weighing just under two pounds. And yet, he's been reaching for the piano keyboard ever since he was a toddler, and has never stopped reaching since. Chris is now 18 years old, has perfect pitch, plays entirely by ear, and is a performer and composer. Now might be a good time to remember that Chris is blind. Beth and Chris shared a conversation in the Capital Public Radio lobby next to a 1936 Richmond piano to talk and listen to some music.
Update: Chris is now living in the Bay Area at the California School for the Blind, working on a wide range of skills for independence. Musically, Chris is receiving instruction on the basics of jazz and improve. He's been quite busy adjusting to dorm life but, in true Chris Nakamura fashion, is working hard to complete two original compositions.
Sherman Baker & Autumn Sky - Back in June, Sacramento's "indie darling" Autumn Sky paired up with another Sacramento musician, "heart-on-his-sleeve" Sherman Baker for a dual release show. When we contacted them for an interview, they put together a little duet to play for a very appreciative Capital Public Radio audience.